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  1. Understanding and predicting the relationship between leaf temperature ( T leaf ) and air temperature ( T air ) is essential for projecting responses to a warming climate, as studies suggest that many forests are near thermal thresholds for carbon uptake. Based on leaf measurements, the limited leaf homeothermy hypothesis argues that daytime T leaf is maintained near photosynthetic temperature optima and below damaging temperature thresholds. Specifically, leaves should cool below T air at higher temperatures (i.e., > ∼25–30°C) leading to slopes <1 in T leaf / T air relationships and substantial carbon uptake when leaves are cooler than air. This hypothesis implies that climate warming will be mitigated by a compensatory leaf cooling response. A key uncertainty is understanding whether such thermoregulatory behavior occurs in natural forest canopies. We present an unprecedented set of growing season canopy-level leaf temperature ( T can ) data measured with thermal imaging at multiple well-instrumented forest sites in North and Central America. Our data do not support the limited homeothermy hypothesis: canopy leaves are warmer than air during most of the day and only cool below air in mid to late afternoon, leading to T can / T air slopes >1 and hystereticmore »behavior. We find that the majority of ecosystem photosynthesis occurs when canopy leaves are warmer than air. Using energy balance and physiological modeling, we show that key leaf traits influence leaf-air coupling and ultimately the T can / T air relationship. Canopy structure also plays an important role in T can dynamics. Future climate warming is likely to lead to even greater T can , with attendant impacts on forest carbon cycling and mortality risk.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 20, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  4. Abstract. The flow of carbon through terrestrial ecosystems and the response toclimate are critical but highly uncertain processes in the global carboncycle. However, with a rapidly expanding array of in situ and satellitedata, there is an opportunity to improve our mechanistic understanding ofthe carbon (C) cycle's response to land use and climate change. Uncertaintyin temperature limitation on productivity poses a significant challenge topredicting the response of ecosystem carbon fluxes to a changing climate.Here we diagnose and quantitatively resolve environmental limitations onthe growing-season onset of gross primary production (GPP) using nearly 2 decades of meteorological and C flux data (2000–2018) at a subalpineevergreen forest in Colorado, USA. We implement the CARbonDAta-MOdel fraMework (CARDAMOM) model–datafusion network to resolve the temperature sensitivity of spring GPP. Tocapture a GPP temperature limitation – a critical component of the integratedsensitivity of GPP to temperature – we introduced a cold-temperature scalingfunction in CARDAMOM to regulate photosynthetic productivity. We found thatGPP was gradually inhibited at temperatures below 6.0 ∘C (±2.6 ∘C) and completely inhibited below −7.1 ∘C(±1.1 ∘C). The addition of this scaling factor improvedthe model's ability to replicate spring GPP at interannual and decadal timescales (r=0.88), relative to the nominal CARDAMOM configuration (r=0.47), and improved spring GPP model predictability outside of themore »dataassimilation training period (r=0.88). While cold-temperaturelimitation has an important influence on spring GPP, it does not have asignificant impact on integrated growing-season GPP, revealing that otherenvironmental controls, such as precipitation, play a more important role inannual productivity. This study highlights growing-season onset temperatureas a key limiting factor for spring growth in winter-dormant evergreenforests, which is critical in understanding future responses to climatechange.« less
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023